During one of my morning walks through a park, I stopped for a few moments in front of this tree. The curving branches spreading out on all sides struck me as a good metaphor for our lives. A tree has a thick solid trunk with roots reaching deep into the ground. The roots keep the tree very stable and provide nutrients for life. The branches start out thick and divide out into smaller and smaller branches. This gives balance and flexibility to the tree. When the wind blows, the branches move with it. The branches also sprout a multitude of leaves, which take in energy from the sun and carbon dioxide from the air. The energy taken in by the leaves nourishes the entire tree. They also provide the beauty and diversity of trees.
If our life has a solid trunk and deep roots, we are stable and feel grounded. Some of us are born into a stable and supportive family while many of us have to create that for ourselves. We all have to continuously work at nurturing that foundation and often rely on family and friends to help us. Just as trees help each other through their roots under the ground, we can provide that help for each other.
The branches of the tree are similar to all the various aspects in our life in which we branch out. If one branch is outsized, it consumes all the energy, leaving the other branches weak and the tree unsteady. A strong wind can cause damage. If the branches are balanced in size and direction, we can more easily bend with the wind and grow in a healthy manner. All of our happy and meaningful moments in life are like the leaves taking in energy and helping us to grow and flourish. We can then share our flowers and fruits with the world around us.
In coaching, we often use the Wheel of Life with our clients. This is divided into the various parts of our life that we need to balance. The sections include career, money, friends and family, significant other, physical environment, health, personal growth, and fun and recreation. By imagining these areas as branches spreading us out into the world, we can see how a healthy balance can keep us strong and happy.